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By Hal Marcovitz

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Each ship required 170 rowers manning three banks of oars—hence the name. 6m) long and 20 feet (6m) wide. The vessels were fast and very maneuverable. The front of the ship was made of solid wood and used as a battering ram. “There has probably never been as bizarre yet successful a galley as the Greek trireme,” says California State University historian Victor Davis Hanson. “The crew could row at 50 strokes a minute to achieve short bursts of fighting speeds . . ” Victor Davis Hanson, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.

Indeed, warfare was so common in ancient Greece that every man—aristocrat, farmer, craftsman, and laborer— was expected to answer his city-state’s call to arms. Perhaps Heraclitus, a fifth-century BC Greek philosopher, did the best job of defining his country’s main preoccupation. ”23 41 Chapter 3 An Era of Achievement E very four years, ancient Greece’s greatest athletes gathered outside the city of Olympia in Peloponnesus for a series of competitions, including footraces, wrestling matches, long jumps, javelin throws, discus throws, chariot races, and other events.

Also unlike Athenian women, Spartan women were permitted to inherit property from their families. “To the ancient Greeks, Hellas meant every place occupied by Greeks, in which the Greek tongue was spoken and a certain sense of common origin and religion maintained,” says historian Thomas George Tucker. “Indeed, beyond the possession of a common tongue—although this had its dialects, often as distinct from one another as Scotch [is] from standard English [and] a general similarity of dress and religion .

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Ancient Greece by Hal Marcovitz


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